Ship or Tow Your Car Behind Rental Moving Truck?

If you own a car and you want to move, there are many options available to you. What items should you pack against what to dispose of, and what long distance movers to hire? Should you have a garage sale, so you can have fewer items to pack? Should you go with a DIY approach by renting a moving truck? Will you be flying or driving to the destination home?

Some of the options include:

You can professionally ship the car

You can decide to drive the car yourself

You can sell the car and purchase a new one in your new home town

You can have it towed behind your rental truck using a vehicle trailer.

Ship or Tow Your Car Behind Rental Moving Truck?

In this article

In this article, we will be weighing two options – shipping your car or towing it behind your moving truck. Our experts highlight the option that will work best for your need, whether shipping or towing. Continue reading to understand the best way to relocate your car.

Towing your Car

If you are not moving with fewer boxes, the next available and suitable option for you may be to haul your vehicle by towing it. You have two options to tow your car behind a rental truck.

Firstly, using a tow dolly that lifts the front wheels of your car off the road, connected securely to the truck. That implies that the rear wheels will be on the ground all through the whole drive and doesn’t add to your vehicle’s mileage.

Secondly, you can hitch a tow trailer to the rental moving truck. This will require a hitch installer.

Read Where to Find the Best Trailer Hitch Installers.

Your vehicle is securely connected to the trailer and save it from wear and tear on the tires, including the odometer. These scenarios make your car shipping affordable and greatly provide a sweet experience.

Point to note:

  • You are driving only one vehicle and will only need one parking on your move.
  • Just one vehicle to refuel at the gas station.
  • You won’t be worried about being apart in traffic.
  • You may have to consider the tow option despite its weight as it is less expensive than gas on the car if your car doesn’t have good gas mileage.
  • You as a single person won’t need to worry about getting someone to travel with (eliminating the need to pay for appreciation gift or return transport fare).
  • If you are with a spouse, you will have them seated in the cab of the moving truck with you, which makes the trip much more enjoyable than driving a long distance alone with no one to interact with.

How Much Does it Cost to Tow My Car?

If you would rather have your car towed behind your moving truck, you will probably need to rent a dolly or vehicle trailer. You may spend between $80 and $500 to rent a dolly for a move beyond 500 miles based on your location.

It can cost you twice that amount to rent a trailer for the same distance. You may not be able to use your personally owned vehicle trailer. Many moving truck rental companies will disallow the idea of you towing your personally owned trailer behind their moving trucks.

Trailers vs. Dollies

Both vehicle trailers and tow dollies are used to transport cars on a long-distance, but they have some important differences:

  • Design differences:  Your car’s front wheels are held by tow dollies, while the back wheels are on the road running as if you were driving it. However, when you use a vehicle trailer, the four wheels are resting on the trailer. This difference is significant as mileage is added to your back wheels when you use a tow dolly. You need to rent a trailer if you want to avoid the addition of mileage to your tires.
  • Weight capacities: Trailers have more weight capacity than dollies. A tow dolly will perfectly carry any vehicle smaller than Nissan Altima. You need to get a trailer if your vehicle is more than that, say an SUV or a 4 by 4 truck.
  • Security features: There are tire straps as well as car security chains on U-Haul’s tow dollies. These should be able to secure your vehicle on the dolly perfectly. Still, with U-Haul’s trailers, you get an additional security feature which is the automatic brakes that make them safer.

Shipping your Car

Although this is similar to car towing, it, however, has some vital differences. Firstly, car shipping is specially made for long-distance moves. In the majority of routes for car shipping, vehicles can spend days or even weeks in transit.

Appointments for car shipping should be done in advance, and it also offers open or enclosed vehicle shipping options.

Point to note:

  • Just arrange your pick-up and drop-off times and allow the car shipping company to handle the rest. You may need to personally drive your vehicle to the closest pick-up or drop-off point; after that, there is no physical effort required by car shipping from you.
  • You should be ready to drive for several hours or days if you are driving the car yourself. If you choose car shipping, another person will handle the driving. If you are relocating to another state, you will be able to fly or drive faster to your destination home without transporting another car if you go for a car shipping option.
  • Car shipping is cheaper than towing it to your destination address. It can be costly to rent a trailer and in some cases a vehicle, not to talk of the cost of gas mileage as well as vehicle maintenance at the completion of the move. It is so unpopular to hire a towing company to haul your vehicle across state lines, and it is so expensive even than shipping your car.

What does the actual Car Shipping Cost?

We will be realistic. It is expensive to ship your car and may cost between $300 and 2,000 or more in some situations. Even though it is not as expensive as a moving service, but professional auto transport can still cost you a lot of money from your moving budget.

With that in mind, you need to look at factors like vehicle size, the distance of the move, shipping method, as well as seasonality as they will significantly affect your shipment rate from what we’ve highlighted.

Cost of towing against car shipping when you move

Several factors make driving your car riskier than shipping it. These include:


Moving trucks are long and larger than most cars already. Now consider adding your vehicle’s length or that of a vehicle trailer behind the oversized moving truck. During vehicle towing, it will be much more difficult to turn, park, backing up to become almost impossible.

Also, stopping your moving truck may take a while before it actually does as momentum will be added to it by the additional weight, and it could be dangerous if you need to match on brakes suddenly.


This is similar to the first factor, but it is also big enough to have its own lines, when you connect two vehicles, they pull each other and experience much more swaying that they do individually.

If you have to swerve to dodge a pothole or a sharp object, your moving truck or trailer will sway beyond control, causing a possibly dangerous situation for you, your vehicle, and everyone in that area.

This can be reduced by making sure your vehicle is loaded closer to the front of the trailer. Distributing the weight of your car closer to the hitch will reduce the dramatic sway even though some swaying will still occur if you quickly swerve.

Road debris:

Your vehicle is exposed to trash, flying particles, and any other road elements during towing. Although your moving truck might protect it from some of these elements, your vehicle could still take a rock chip, scratches, or worse damage.

Also, road elements can be a problem during the shipping of your car on an open trailer. The enclosed shipping option is the safest and most recommended, especially when shipping exotic vehicles, even though the option always costs more.


You might find towing a car very easy, especially if you’ve driven a moving truck before. However, there is much to note on that, and it can constitute a lot of delay and stress to your drive.

There are also a lot of instructions to read when renting a dolly or trailer as well as requirements to satisfy. For instance, U-Haul asks that the weight of the vehicle you are driving must be at least 750 pounds more than the one you are transporting on your dolly.

When to get Car Shipping

Are you going on a long-distance trip? The best choice for you is to ship your car. Car shipping companies can transport several cars at once and can maintain relatively lower prices. If you are moving an exotic or classic car, the enclosed option offered by car shipping alongside standard enclosed trailers makes them the best option.

If you don’t want complex shipping, arrange car shipping with a reputable car shipping company and get your car shipped just like dropping off a mail.

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